Michigan lifts ban on poultry shows imposed to fight bird flu

LANSING — Michigan has lifted a statewide ban on poultry and waterfowl shows after 30 days with no new cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in domestic birds.

Bird shows can resume in the state, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said Monday.

The state halted poultry and waterfowl shows on May 10 as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of bird flu among poultry flocks. The ban was lifted on Saturday.

“Even if the state was able to reach this incredibly important benchmark, it doesn’t mean the virus has left Michigan,” state veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland said in the statement. “HPAI continues to be detected in wild birds statewide, which is not unexpected, as the virus is known to be carried by wild birds.”

Bird flu has spread across the United States, prompting farms to euthanize millions of birds. It can spread from flock to flock, including wild birds, and through contact with infected poultry, equipment and keepers.

When it banned shows, the state said transporting poultry from different flocks to one location, such as a county fair, created a “significant risk.”

In 2015, bird flu prompted a similar ban on Michigan poultry shows, affecting nearly 4,000 young people who participate in 4-H poultry projects at county fairs across the state.

The latest outbreak of bird flu hit North America in December and has led to the slaughter of an estimated 37 million chickens and turkeys on US farms since February.

At least a dozen non-commercial backyard flocks in nine Michigan counties have been infected, affecting a total of 870 birds, MLive.com reported earlier.

More information on bird flu can be found at michigan.gov/birdflu.

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